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Ex-School Resource Officer Charged in Parkland Response; Biden, Warren Unveil Climate Change Plans on Trail; Campground Employee Arrested for Pulling Gun on Black Couple; Trump Hosts Dinner for Prince Charles, Duchess of Cornwall. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired June 4, 2019 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Got some breaking news now. We are getting word the former resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has just been arrested and charged for his actions during the response to the deadly shooting there. So let's go straight to Rosa Flores, she is our correspondent on the phone. So Rosa, talk to me about the charges and just remind everyone his role in the aftermath of that shooting.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via phone): Hey, Brooke, yes, we're learning these details in real-time right now. I'm actually reading through the press release sent out by the State Attorney's office, so I'm kind of reading it with you as we go through this. According to the State Attorney's office, former Broward Sheriffs' Deputy Scot Peterson is facing 11 criminal charges including child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury in connection with his quote, "lack of response to the February 14, 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas."

Now this is of course the MSD shooting that left 17 people dead and 17 others injured, this happened in 2018 again on Valentine's Day and according to the State's Attorney office they conducted a 14-month investigation that involved FDLE which is the Florida Department Of Law Enforcement and the Broward Sheriff's Office ,and that is how they investigated the case and where the charges stem from.

Now according to the State Attorney's office, Peterson was arrested on Tuesday and bond was set at $102,000, he would be required to wear a GPS monitor. He would have to surrender his passport, he is banned from possessing any firearms while the case is pending.

[15:35:00] And, Brooke, Scot Peterson probably rings a bell to a lot of our viewers because he was the resource officer who was at Marjory Stoneman Douglas who was armed and who did not go into the building where the shooting was happening.

We've covered this extensively and seen video of him outside waiting and calling other officers however, he did not go into the building where Nikolas Cruz was shooting at students. And so again breaking news we're just learning about the details from the State's Attorney office here in Broward County and again former Broward Sheriff's Deputy Scot Peterson is facing 11 criminal charges including child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury in connection with the lack of response during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

BALDWIN: This is the guy -- thank you so much, Rosa. He is a former Broward Sheriff's Deputy. Was really blamed, Paul Callan, our CNN legal analyst, bringing you in, and blamed by a lot of parents, right?


BALDWIN: Down there for not doing enough, fast enough, stopping the shooter from killing 17 and wounding so many others. Looking at the charges, child neglect and culpable negligence and perjury. Child neglect. You're surprised by this.

CALLAN: Yes. I'm really surprised by it because you almost never see a police officer or a law enforcement person charged with child neglect in this kind of a fact pattern. Usually it is a parent or some kind of a custodian of a child who allows that child to be abused say by a boyfriend or getting access to a gun or drugs in the house. That is traditionally child neglect. But now you have a law enforcement person who was supposed to guard the school being charged with child neglect.

And by the way, in looking at the statute, technically there probably is a violation because he was in a caregiver position of responsibility, that is item number one that has to be proven and as a result of negligence or neglect, children were harmed. We know that happens to be true. So even though I've never seen charges like this brought against a police official, there may be an argument that it fits the statute and by the way he faces an enormous exposure. I think it is somewhere like 90 years in prison --

BALDWIN: 96 1/2.

CALLAN: 96 1/2 years in prison, if he were convicted and got the maximum on all charges.

BALDWIN: So the Florida authorities -- so it has been 14 months since they started investigating, talked to 184 witnesses, reviewed hours and hours of video surveillance, wrote 212 investigative reports totaling more than 800 hours of

investigation. It just brings up their questions as we unfortunately cover all too many shootings like this where there are these school resource officers, and it is like, what is their role and how many should there be, should we arm teachers? It is all part of the conversations we've been having. But --

CALLAN: And I think we also have to note that his defense and what he is saying, by the way, is that he did not act in cowardice by leaving the scene. He said that at first, he thought there were firecrackers going off. He stepped back so he would have a better view of the buildings and then he thought that from a position farther away he could locate a sniper, if there was a sniper in place. That is what he's giving us as a defense. Of course law enforcement officials are saying he should have rushed into the school and tried to protect the kids directly.

BALDWIN: I think he said on the "Today Show" when they interviewed him after the fact that he would regret this for the rest of his life. So the investigation is on. And we talked to -- Paul Callan, thank you so much for jumping in on that.

Coming up next, let's talk about the new CNN polls, they show former Vice President Joe Biden with a still very comfortable lead in the 2020 race. It comes on a day when both he and Senator Elizabeth Warren are rolling out their plans to fight climate change. We have details on what is in their policies coming up.


BALDWIN: With just a few weeks to go until the first Democratic primary debate, a new CNN poll released this morning shows Joe Biden still holding his lead as the clear front-runner but he's down 7 points since he first launched his campaign in April. Senators Bernie Sanders is at 18 percent, Kamala Harris is at 8 percent and Senator Elizabeth Warren and Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Congressman Beto O'Rourke round out the top six.

Now Joe Biden is campaigning in New Hampshire today and trying to quiet critics who say he isn't bold enough on climate change. The former Vice President rolling out his proposal to fight global warming and pump billion dollars into the economy at the same time. His plan would invest $1.7 trillion of federal money over ten years in a clean energy to help eliminate planet warming carbon emissions by 2050.

Congress would decide how to penalize companies who would fall short of that. Biden would also return the U.S. to the Paris Climate Accord, create a new high-speed rail network and ban new oil and gas permits on public lands. And paid for by undoing President Trump's tax cuts. Now Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others have said Joe Biden is too middle of the road when it comes to climate change but he pushed back on that just this afternoon.


JOE BIDEN (D), FORMER VICE PRESIDENT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Worried Democrats -- you know we all learn the wrong lessons from one another. I'm worried if a Democrat comes along and wins and says look, we have to do something on the environment. I am just going to take money from other places and going to do it. That is not how the system is supposed to work. You have to get people working together.

Because otherwise there is no way this country can continue to function like it had in the past. And will in the future. It is really -- and I'm not talking about going back to the past. I'm talking about avoiding a terrible future if we don't figure out how to make this work.


BALDWIN: Now the former Vice President isn't the only one talking climate change. Today Senator Elizabeth Warren also just rolled out her own comprehensive climate plan and CNN's MJ Lee is traveling with the Warren campaign. And so she's basically taking the former Vice President's $1.7 trillion and raising it to $2 trillion when it comes to fighting climate change.

MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Brooke. She just wrapped up her event here in Detroit. This is the beginning of her two-day swing through the Midwest. She is here in Michigan today and tomorrow. She heads to Indians Tuesday, two states I should note Donald Trump, of course, won back in 2016. This is a new theme that Elizabeth Warren is unveiling. She is calling it economic patriotism and the first plan in that series of plans as she said she will roll out came just this morning.

It has to do with climate change. She gave us basically a sense of how she would implement as President the green new deal, this is of course a proposal very popular among progressives and activists on the left. It is a $2 trillion, as you said, price tag on ways to promote green technology and manufacturing and jobs and given that this price tag is so large, she told the audience here today in Detroit that she has a plan to pay for it. Here is what she said.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I always have a plan. Got it all paid for. Basically by cutting the subsidies for the oil and gas industry.

And by making sure that every big corporation, I'm looking at you Amazon who paid 0 in taxes last year. That every big corporation pays its fair share in taxes.


LEE: Now Warren says that more proposals are going to come in the coming months related to this theme of economic patriotism. She's clearly continuing to bet, Brooke, that being the ideas candidate and the policy candidate is going to pay off in the end.

BALDWIN: What about just, MJ, this issue of climate change, do you think it is becoming a litmus test for all these Democratic candidates?

LEE: As you mentioned just this morning, Joe Biden put out his climate change proposal and I think it is important to note that this is an issue that so many of the Democratic candidates are talking about. They are talking about it by releasing their own proposals. And they're being asked about it. When they're campaigning out on the stump and I think it is important to highlight this one question that was asked in the new CNN poll released today, and that was around the question of what kind of fight are Democratic voters want to see as we head into the campaign season?

Some 81 percent, this is an overwhelming majority of voters, of Democratic voters, said they would rather that candidates talk about policy, only 15 percent said they want to see candidates talking about the disappointment or the dissatisfaction rather with President Trump. So just goes to show that policy is top of mind for these Democratic voters at this point. I did ask Elizabeth Warren whether she has started debate prep since that is only three weeks away. She said, she has not started yet but you have to imagine, Brooke, in the coming weeks this will be a top focus for a lot of these candidates.

BALDWIN: MJ, thank you very much.

[15:50:00] Coming up next, that campground employee who pulled a gun on a black couple has just been arrested. We have the whole story for you next.


BALDWIN: A Mississippi campground employee accused of pulling a gun on an African-American couple trying to find a picnic spot has been arrested. The couple took cell phone video of 70-year-old Ruby Howell approaching them with a gun at a campground. This is near Starkville, Mississippi. Franklin and Jessica Richardson said that they were simply looking for a picnic spot when they were approached by this woman with this gun, this worker who told them to leave because they didn't have a reservation.


JESSICA RICHARDSON, THREATENED WITH GUN: We could feel the intents behind it, you know? And so I felt it. I felt the heat from it. I felt it in her eyes. The gun was pointed at me, my husband. The fact that she used get, get, like we were a dog.

FRANKLIN RICHARDSON, THREATENED WITH GUN: And we weren't a threat to anybody. We were out there walking our dog. Nothing harmful about that. Go over there, don't have a gun pointed at you, come back in, first thing is you have a gun pointed at you. It's kind of crazy to think about.


BALDWIN: Howell is charged with a single count of threatening exhibition of a weapon. She turned herself in this morning and has since been released on a $500 bond.

Also just in in what is shaping up to be quite the showdown, the Republican leader of the Senate just said that there is hardly any support in his caucus for the President's tariffs against Mexico.


BALDWIN: We are looking at live pictures. There's President Trump, there's Prince Charles, Sarah Sanders, White House Press Secretary. This is the dinner -- the black-tie dinner in which the President and the first lady are hosting the Royal family. We were actually not expecting to a get a glimpse inside the room, so Kate Bennett and Kate Andrews join me now and Kate, so we see the -- this glamorous setting. Tell us more about the dinner.

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, the dinner tonight, we also just got the menu, and the menu, Brooke, the menu is basically the President's favorite foods, done up in a fancier way. So basically steak, a fillet of beef, and Pommes Ana which are potatoes and then for deserts, berries and vanilla ice cream. So certainly some of his favorites. And there will be a salad for the first course.

I mean again, this is one of those evenings that is a very special one of a kind evening. You can see all the details. Melania Trump does have an affinity for white flowers. They are her favorite. So we're seeing those in the centerpieces. She does love candlelight, one of the hallmarks of her wedding to Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago 14 years ago, where the giant candelabras on all the tables.

So certainly this to me rings very true, as signature of a Melania Trump event. We got some of the seating arrangements, as well. The President as you can see is between Prince Charles and Theresa May. The first lady is sitting in between Mr. May and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. We also saw some still photographs earlier leaked out. There was a private moment with Melania, Woody Johnson, the Ambassador's wife, and the Duchess of Cornwall sitting together in a greeting room before they had gone into the dinner.

But again, so Melania there with Mr. May. You know, again, this is one of those momentous moments between two countries. These state dinners are months in the planning. Every detail -- you know, we heard these details about how the Queen likes to have the chairs a certain number of inches from the table. And it took four days to set that state banquet table. Probably not the detail that we're seeing here tonight. A little less formal, but still, a very important, momentous occasion. Brooke?

BALDWIN: Keep trying to follow the picture. As you pointed out, Melania Trump seated next to Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. Kate Andrews, I've got you for 30 seconds. This is what's referred to as a reciprocal dinner. Is this tradition,

whenever a U.S. President and first lady come over, they're hosted by the Royals and then they return the favor?

KATE ANDREWS, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR AT THE IEA: It's not tradition, actually. And most U.S. Presidents haven't had the benefit of a state reception like this, but in recent years, they have. President George W. Bush got one and Barack Obama got one as well. There are some big heavy hitters in the room tonight, including I've heard Tony Blair, former UK Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party. I would love to be a fly on the wall to think about what he's talking to the President about, given how different the language is, the rhetoric, and politics is 15 years on.

BALDWIN: Kate, thank you. The Kates, to both of you, thank you.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts now.